Episode 7 – Where Reproductive Rights and LQBGT+ Rights Meet

Hello Pantsuiters!

In this episode we talk reproductive rights and health with members of the lgbtq+ community.

Episode Links:

San Antonio Express article citing thousands of calls and emails against Senate Bill 6, aka Texas’ “bathroom bill”: http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Patrick-s-office-deluged-with-emails-calls-10943478.php?cmpid=gsa-mysa-result

To register for the Trans Texans Lobby Day, go here: http://www.transtexas.org/lobby-day-2017/

The GOP’s “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey” can be found here: https://action.donaldjtrump.com/mainstream-media-accountability-survey/

To read Sillicon Valley Data Science’s analysis of gerrymandering in the U.S., go here: http://svds.com/better-know-districts/

And to look at the accompanying map, go here: http://www.svds.com/gerrymandering/

Finally, here’s Michelann’s piece on intersectional feminism:

This essay illustrates the history and current forms of feminism that pertain to the foundational mission and values of Pantsuit Republic Texas.

A (very) Brief History of Feminism in the United States


First Wave Feminism

In the Victorian era, the middle class white woman was encouraged to be meek and subservient. With the contributions of many in the physical and social sciences (Darwin, Marx, Freud, etc), an awareness emerged among these women that they were in fact intelligent and capable. In the United States, the Suffragette movement, or the fight for women to have the right to vote (and own property), is often referred to as First Wave feminism. Many early leaders of the movement were also abolitionists but later turned a blind eye to lynchings and other atrocities committed against black men. This was engendered in part by resentment that black men were granted the vote before (white) women but was also an attempt to win less progressive women to the Suffragette cause. Women won the right to vote through constitutional amendment in 1920. Both before and after this victory, factions within the movement held different views of sex and race. This continued into the advent of Second Wave Feminism.


Sources and Further Reading:







Second Wave Feminism

After World War II, women were expected to cede their wartime jobs to men and to return to homemaking. Young, unmarried women who chose to work made lower wages and were often fired upon marriage, so employers could avoid investing heavily in those who would eventually leave to raise children. In white middle class families, young women attended college for the purpose of finding a husband. Marriage and motherhood were glorified by a post-war economic boom and the influence of corporate media, which suggested to these women that they would find their greatest happiness in “modernizing” their homes and caring for family needs. The Feminine Mystique, published in 1963, challenged this archetype and caught fire with its readers. This book criticized the ways in which women were relegated to the domestic sphere and suffered from “the problem that ha[d] no name” – the malaise that accompanies repetitive, unpaid work and limited potential for fulfillment. Importantly, The Feminine Mystique was also highly homophobic and did not acknowledge the struggles of working class women or women of color.


Second wave feminist issues included equal pay, availability of work, reproductive rights (birth control and abortion), domestic violence, sexual violence, coeducational colleges, and child custody. As with first wave feminism, this movement intersected with and sometimes contradicted the national discourse on race in the civil rights activism of the late 1960s and 1970s. [an example of how they converged and diverged?] Both second wave feminism and the civil rights movement effectively utilized protests, sit-ins, and marches. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 desegregated schools and other public spaces. Title IX, which protected women from discrimination in education, was signed into law in 1972.


The notion of white feminism suggests there is a dominant feminist narrative rendering white, middle-class women mainstream and representative of all women, while ignoring or silencing the intersecting systems of disadvantage experienced by gay women or women of color. As gay rights and visibility was in its infancy in the 1970s, lesbians were often considered outsiders to feminism, sometimes forming their own groups such as the radical black lesbian feminist Combahee River Collective.


The 1980s brought backlash against Second Wave Feminism from an increasingly conservative mainstream culture, influenced by the Moral Majority and the Reagan administration. The Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution failed to pass as a result of the efforts of the Moral Majority, a conservative Christian group that opposed the idea of equality between men and women. Likewise, within the feminist community, conflict grew between factions, as some women rejected the experiences of middle class white women as representative and began to challenge sexually repressive norms within feminism.


Sources and Further Reading/Viewing:







Third Wave Feminism

In the 1990s, dissidents within Second Wave Feminism, such as Camille Paglia, and younger feminists recentered around the concerns of women of color and queer women, sexual freedom, and feminism as a philosophy rather than a political ideology. Intersectionality was a term that attempted to encompass this pluralism and was coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. Intersectionality is the idea that each person has multiple social identities that carry differing levels of privilege and oppression. For example, a gay black man is a man (privileged), gay (oppressed) and black (oppressed). Given the degree to which each identity emerges as more relevant than the others (contextual), he may experience more or less acceptance or marginalization.


The testimony of Anita Hill at the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas were a formative moment for Third Wave, intersectional feminists. Should Hill, a black woman who experienced repeated sexually inappropriate advances by Thomas, have stayed silent in order to allow the historic appointment of a black Supreme Court Justice? Or was her personhood as a woman worthy of credence and defense?


Third Wave Feminists approached sexuality and social norms differently than their predecessors and each other. Queer Theory grew from the feminist exploration of gender identity and fluidity. Queer inclusion in feminism and feminist theory is one of the hallmarks of the Third Wave. The Beauty Myth, by Naomi Wolf, is a critical analysis of the movement of corporate interests towards creating unnatural and unattainable beauty aimed at keeping women obsessed with and financially invested in their outward appearance. This book and others formed the foundation of Fat Studies, a corollary to the Body Positive (BOPO) movement.


A major feature of Third Wave Feminism was the idea that it offered an expansive worldview rather than membership in a specific group with limited goals.


Sources and Further Reading/Viewing:





Feminism Today

Today, three different generational cohorts exist within the feminist community: the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. They roughly correspond with Second, Third, and Fourth (Post) Wave Feminism. However, there is no clear delineation between the countless variants and conflict and confusion around the defining factors of feminism, suggesting that it is clearly a pluralistic concept.


Second Wave Feminism continues to influence academic discourses but has otherwise been largely supplanted by Third Wave Feminism. Third Wave Feminism has numerous and diverse manifestations – Radical Black Feminism, which intersects with movements like Black Lives Matter, trans-exclusive / inclusive feminism, feminism that decries sexual violence and yet embraces safe and highly visible public expressions of women’s sexuality, feminism as a fight against a patriarchal system rooted in competition and marginalization.


Some claim that Fourth Wave Feminism, a global feminism and one that also exists in novel forms with the extensive use of social media, started in the 2000s. Others peg the transition to Hillary Clinton’s loss in the U.S. presidential race in 2016. Still others claim that we remain in the Third Wave. Internal and external backlash against feminism persist even today. Some women join men in rejecting feminism, claiming it harms men or is misguided in embracing equality of the sexes. Hillary Clinton was publically declared by women and men as unfit to lead because she was female and subject to logic-impairing hormonal shifts.


Pantsuit Republic Texas believes that all people should have equitable access to representation in society, and is therefore an intersectional feminist organization. This means that the rights of all people are of equal importance, and we particularly care about making the voices of the traditionally marginalized heard, their experiences shared and understood, and their rights protected.




Some alternative perspectives on the history and current state of feminism:




Male Feminism:



Black Feminism




Latina Feminism:




Queer Feminism







Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins

The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler

Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


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